The working world as we know it has changed forever, but that doesn’t have to be all bad! San Diego Office Design is here to guide you through the “New Normal” of coming back to work after a pandemic.
As an employer, it’s critical to ensure that employees feel comfortable coming back to work. Comfort and anxiety levels around returning to work will differ for each employee, so it’s important to address concerns surrounding emotional well being, physical distance, cleanliness procedures, and more.
To help with all this, we created a list of essentials for the “New Normal” and divided the updates that we recommend into 2 sections: Easy and Fast Changes and Long Term Investments.
EASY & FAST CHANGES
Make your employees feel safe and comfortable by implementing these easy changes that can make a big difference:
- Promote Physical Distance: Separate communal workstations and other furniture in office 6’ or farther from each other.
- Add visual separation: from what you have in the office, give cues on distance like planters or tables between people’s workstations
- Flexible work schedule: keep in mind that because your office is going back to “normal” doesn’t mean that everyone else’s is. For example, schools might not be able to do so next semester, child care, or other offices that can impact everyone’s schedule.
- Improve Air Quality: natural ventilation is recommended over recirculated and filtered air. Keeping common areas open to natural ventilation is the goal, especially adding sunlight can boost people’s moods as well. Changing your filter more than recommended is going to help with the spaces that need air conditioning.
- Can’t touch this: integrate touchless technology to reduce spreading viruses by touching door handles, touchless hand soap dispenser, voice sensor trash.
- Provide cleaning supplies for every person: giving every person a set of cleaning supplies like cleaning bottles and disposable towels or disinfecting wipes will help people from borrowing the office’s cleaning supplies. Implementing a rule that everyone is to clean their workstation: keyboard, mouse, desk, and everything else that we touch daily before and after every workday.
- Limit Physical Meetings: if everyone can’t be 6’ apart when meeting, provide a zoom meeting access code that people can join from home or from their desk.
- Technology is your BFF: we are probably all settled and ready for Zoom or GoToMeeting by now in our homes, but people’s workstations might not be set-up yet, so make sure everyone is ready for the next meeting.
- Add Counter Shields: an easy way to add visual separation is by adding Counter Shields. This comes in different sizes and options depending on your needs from checkout options with an opening at the bottom to do your transaction or full coverage that still keeps coworkers connected and safe. See more Counter Shields here and make sure you ask us about our special designer pricing!
- Disposable everything: encourage the use of sustainable disposable plates and cups to minimize contamination without filling up landfills.
LONG TERM INVESTMENTS
Now that we have some easy solutions taken care of, we need to look to long term changes. As much as we want to go back to our normal offices, the global landscape has changed forever. Going forward, we will need to be more cognizant of how our offices can spread germs and diseases. Here are our long term recommendations that we’re implementing in our office, and encouraging our clients to adopt. As much as we want to go back to our normal offices, the global landscape has changed forever. Going forward, we will need to be more cognizant of how our offices can spread germs and diseases. Here are our long term recommendations that we’re implementing in our office, and encouraging our clients to adopt.
- Partition with purpose: with communal workstations, it’s ideal to have full coverage between each person’s workspace: from the floor to the top of our heads (or higher). We love to use multi-functional partitions with materials like felt, dry eraser boards, magnets, glass, and color or wood accent to tie in with the rest of the office. Click here to see more LoftWall partitions (psst… we can get you special discounts on these! Click here to learn more)
- Hand-sanitizing Stations everywhere: although we are all being very careful of what we touch, we have to give the tools to our employees and visitors to take the right steps to keep their hands clean. We have limitless options for the type of stations available, from wall mounted to freestanding with different styles and colors.
- Upgrade Existing Partitions: if you already have movable fabric partitions between desks, switch them out with easily cleanable fixed partitions. These can have anti-microbial finishes and don’t need to be touched and moved constantly, plus they’re much easier to clean.
- Antimicrobial Materials: use materials that are easy to maintain like water and stain repellent treatment fabrics. These materials are easy to clean with bleach or other cleaning products and are made for harsh chemicals.
- Screen Visitors: It might feel a little weird, but screening employees’ and visitors’ health will help keep your whole office healthy. You can ask employees to check their temperature before coming into work, and give them options to work from home. However, if your office has visitors like ours, consider installing a Visitor Screening device where you can safely test visitors’ temperatures. We love this Thermobile by Clarus (and we get special discounts on it! Click here to learn more)
- Can’t touch this – long term: changing your existing frequent touchpoints into a touchless technology is going to change your employees’ exposure to germs. For example, installing window shades that are activated by sun-tracking technology, automated water dispensers.
Your office might not need to do everything that is on this list, but it is important to know how many small changes can make a big impact on how your employees feel about going back to work and feeling comfortable. Encouraging an open discussion about how employees are feeling is key.
Want more information on the products in this article? Or do you need a little more help implementing safety measures in your office?
We’d love to hear about your success! Let us know how this list helped you – connect with us on social media!